Last month, recent graduates Manan Shah ’17 and Michael Tseitlin ’17, accompanied by computer science chair Eric Nelson, attended the Critical Issues Forum in Nagasaki, Japan, an annual event for high school students around the world interested in nuclear disarmament.
The conference, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, was co-sponsored by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Kwassui High School in Nagasaki and the Nagasaki Council for Nuclear Weapons Abolition.
During the three-day event, students from the United States, Russia and Japan gave presentations on this year’s assigned topic, “Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and its Role for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons.” Shah and Tseitlin’s presentation examined ways that current nuclear weapons ban agreements could be improved. “Our research highlighted the major concerns in numerous high-risk nuclear regions of interest and proposed a unique test-ban solution focusing on broad global precedents and specific regional implementations to prevent the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Shah said.
Attendees also heard from leading nonproliferation experts, including Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, who gave a talk “about the accomplishments and hurdles surrounding the implementation of the treaty,” Shah recalled. Shah also was asked to be one of two students from the United States to appear on a panel, where he discussed how he became a researcher and activist for nuclear nonproliferation.
Outside of the conference, students had the opportunity to explore Hiroshima and its many exhibits related to the bombing that eventually led to the end of World War II. “I was truly inspired by visiting the site of the atomic bomb explosion on Aug. 6, 1945 and obtaining a firsthand understanding of the damage that was inflicted by the bomb on Japanese citizens,” Shah reported. “I’m also incredibly grateful for the opportunity to live with a host family who helped me understand and appreciate Japanese culture.”